A Discouraging Few Days

March 3, 2007 from Don | Discouraging Times, The Whole StoryComments Off on A Discouraging Few Days | ««Previous - Next»»

As you know Skip, this last week has been hard, very hard. Last night I talked with my Oncologist, Doug Lee for about 20 minutes, holding back tears from pain, the whole conversation. While the pain is bad he felt it was an answer to prayer! What? Yes, a definitive decision to stop Taxol! My concern has been that dropping Taxol was giving up and my prognosis was going to be much worse. He reassured me by reminding me that I have been taking high doses and it is not uncommon for patients to develop neuropathy or other side effects over time with much lower doses. He also assured me that the other chemo agents we are going to switch to should work as well in killing the tumors without the neuropathy side effects. The frustration comes from leaving Taxol, a drug that we know works well, going back to testing drugs that may or may not work as well without the side effects. We both agreed this is a very hard time because there is so much uncertainty again, similar to when we began the who Chemotherapy process. He told me to bump the Quick Release Morphine from 30 to 45 mg or more if I need it. Doug assured me that we could reduce the pain in the feet with enough morphine.

I took 45mg then 30 mg 2 hours later. I had a great sleep with very low pain- it was wonderful. The next morning, March 1st, I woke up feeling almost as good and took another 45mg to hopefully keep me pain free the rest of the day. My vision was a little blurred and I was tired and a little loopy. Heather and I talked about my scheduled meetings Wednesday-Saturday and I reluctantly agreed I would have a very difficult time concentrating with the high dose of morphine I was using to reduce the foot neuropathy. We agreed I would take it day by day. Later in the afternoon my liver tube began to drain with a reddish tint from red blood cells (RBC’s). This was the first time this has occurred since the tube was originally placed in my liver last October. I spoke with Dr Lee and he said not to worry about it unless I developed pain or regular RBC drainage without interruption. We agreed it would be best if I came in for a RBC panel on Friday. Also the 80mg of Cymbalta I have been taking for the last week did not seem to help my neuropathy so we agreed to switch to Lyrica on Friday.

I continued with the 45mg of Morphine, Immediate Release every 4-6 hours and had a great sleep.

Today, Friday March 2nd has been a good day overall. My feet have been more numb. At noon I had a blood test and Dr Lee said everything was normal. He also gave me a prescription for Lyrica.I was tired most of the day and continue to feel loopy- it is hard to write e-mails, to keep a train of thought for more than a few minutes. This e-mail has taken me over an hour to write. The plan was for me to try and get to Olympia this afternoon so I could get some time with students and also give the closing talk tomorrow after lunch. Unfortunately I am just too loopy and I can’t make it today. Heather offered to drive tomorrow and to bring the boys with us so we’ll see what tomorrow looks like.

Thank you for your prayers, by foot pain has been reduced dramatically and I am beginning to feel a little better.

I have one more interesting thing to note. In my update you have heard me talk about the uncertainty-not knowing what drug to use, not knowing how it will work. Similar uncertainty to what we felt when we began chemotherapy not knowing if Taxol or Carboplatin would work. During that time Dan Jessup was here from Colorado, Bart Tarman from Washington DC, and Art Kopicky, Wes Anderson and Skip(Chi-Dooh) Li from Seattle. They were a huge comfort to me at that time. Well, today I was in my home office and Dan Jessup arrived from Colorado to visit for a few hours. about 30 minutes later Art Kopicky came by with lunch. Right after lunch Wes came over and then both Bart and Chi-Dooh called. No one knew that any of the others would be at my house today. The same group of guys, spontaneously bringing me the same encouragement now. What a reminder that:

God is Good, All the Time, Good is Good

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